Let me introduce myself. I know we’ve met before but I want to give you a little more of my background, help you understand what motivates me and the reasons I do what I do. And how and why things around here will be changing.
I’m Donna Adams, aka Donna the Destroyer. I am an avid Powerlifter, Software Quality Assurance professional, outdoorsy, liberal woman. My current mood is to let my liberalism out into the world and see where it leads me. Afterall, it is this liberalism that helped me find my voice though powerlifting. You may be wondering how, so I’ll tell you a little story about me.
I grew up in a blue collar, lower-end middle class household, the fourth of five children. This was a strong democratic household. My parents showed through their actions that it is our civic duty to vote, and they leaned heavily democratic. My first memories of politics were in the 80’s – Reagan vs. Carter, Reagan vs. Mondale. I remember being upset that Reagan kept winning even though he wasn’t for the little people, the people NOT in power. I realized that I was a Democrat and that the Democratic party was the party for the people and by the people – ALL PEOPLE. Not just the rich, not just those who looked like me – ALL PEOPLE. And this was important to me then and it is important to me now.
Maybe it was because I was picked on for being different (which is odd, since I look at myself and see a VERY white, privileged woman), maybe it was because I was a girl growing up smart in a male-dominated world (subtle sexism, anyone?), but whatever the reason I always chose the side of the other, the different, the oppressed (if they truly existed in my pocket of suburbia). I have always surrounded myself with people of like mind and always wanted to do more. There were so many good intentions, good thoughts, moments of anger and rebellion where I wanted to take action but didn’t – it wouldn’t do, it wouldn’t be lady-like, don’t rock the boat, your voice isn’t big enough for people to hear. But in the back of my mind I knew that I needed to find and grow my voice.
I am fortunate in many ways, privileged in a few (color, class) and due to this fortune I was able to seek out my current tribe. I had the time and money to go after what I wanted. I began looking for a place where I felt included regardless of who I was and what I could do and where I would learn the ways of the Jedi (ok, not the Jedi but where technique would be the focus, not just “getting done” with the workout). And soon I found the perfect place, the people I whose tribe I wanted to join. These people celebrated the strength of women, cared about the foundations of strength, and seemed fairly liberal.
First I stalked them (social media, facebook, hello interwebs) and then I got the courage to find them in person. In the beginning I was quiet and tried to hide in the background, not making waves, trying not to be noticed. I just wanted to absorb everything and everyone and give the minimum so I could be part of the group. Not because I am selfish (sometimes, but not always) but because I am shy. My voice was still small. But my spirit was growing with all the talk of inclusion and helping and being a community for ALL the people. The liberal inclusive light was shining on me.
It was not until a fateful day in November 2014 (wow, two years ago!) when someone uttered the words “who wants to do a powerlifting meet” that my ears perked up and my voice began to come out. Powerlifting made me feel powerful, strong, able to take on great things. For a long time this simply meant my relationships, my work, my immediate life. But then things began to shift within me, my focus began turning outwards. How could I help other people? I began encouraging other women (and some men, too) to see that building strength on the outside helps to build strength on the inside. My voice began getting louder. And I started a blog to chronicle my powerlifting journey.
I have taken you from my little gym and local meets all the way to the national stage and since then I’ve been trying to figure out where I should take you next. The events of this past week have helped me figured it out: I’m taking you all on the journey as I find out how loud my voice can grow and shout out to the world that while I will accept the president I will not accept the changes that I fear will come. Oh, most of this blog will still focus on powerlifting and my progressions, regressions, aches, pains and triumphs. But here and there, sprinkled amongst the words of strength and encouragement about lifting will be messages of solidarity, hope, and action for the nation.
And here is my first action: I’m marching on Washington in January. I had planned to participate in the inauguration of the first female president but instead I am going to march, show my allegiance to all WOMEN and all minorities. Because this is a stand I have to take. I am not going to let OUR current rights be diminished because someone can’t hear my voice. I’ve finally found it and now is the time for me to see how loud it can grow.